1000 E. University, Dept 3334, Coe Library 510B
Laramie, WY 82070
We have considered the factors attendant to the use of cloud-computing services (or Software-as-a-Service) for teaching, and we offer the following explanation and advice. A cloud-computing service is one that provides free or low-cost user data and document storage, sharing, processing, or display, on a remote server reached through a web browser, under some terms to which you agree as an individual in the course of signing up for the service.
These services include Google Docs, WordPress and other wikis and blogs, YouTube, social networks, note-taking and bibliographic archives, Google and Amazon apps, and many others, with new ones drawing attention regularly. These services can be quite handy for teaching purposes. See some definitions at:
Please do not upload or store any confidential data, especially student grades, in cloud services, under any license terms. The security and privacy of such data cannot be guaranteed. Deletion operations may not be executed completely. You may place such data on hosted services such as eCompanion and WyoSakai, because UW carries contracts with the vendors that identify us as an institutional tenant and assure our control; WyoWeb applications, and others run by UW Info Tech in-house, are deemed safe.
No formal support is provided by this office, Instructional Computing, or by any other campus-wide unit at the University of Wyoming for any service that is not licensed and offered by UW as an institution. Tech support must be provided by you. Because many services are canceled suddenly, the accessibility and longevity of materials and artifacts is undependable. Liability remains with the you, the individual. Departments and divisions may undertake their own arrangements, of course. You may consult with the Office of the General Counsel on particulars of "click-to-accept" agreements.
Many questions of practice can be answered through appeal to your own judgment of appropriateness for corresponding situations in the classroom. Student identities and student work can be shared among classmates, but no student work or contribution should be made available to the public-- on a website or via any other means of publication-- without the student's permission. Note that the licenses for some new cloud-computing course platforms require you yourself to guarantee that any use you make of them complies with FERPA and other law.
If you require your students to use services for which they must accept a license, note that requirement in your Syllabus. Students must be allowed to opt out of such requirements, by dropping the class within the Drop period, before they incur a financial penalty. Major cloud-service providers such as Google might commit to no identifiable use of personal data, but individuals may remain skeptical or may balk at the intended aggregate uses or other license terms.
Advisory to Faculty on Cloud-Computing Services for Teaching by Robin Hill is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.uwyo.edu.
Last update: 29 Feb. 2012; rkh